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May 1992 November 1992 January 1993

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METAL WORKS 1973 - 1993

     "METAL WORKS is not meant to be a 'Best Of' nor is it by any means Judas Priest's Greatest Hits. The track listing was put together by the band to commemorate 20 years of recording and performing. A varied selection of songs has been taken from the back catalog which represents such an era. It includes many Priest classics but also a few personal favorites which may have been overlooked by all but the most ardent Priest fans."
- Neil Jefferies, METAL WORKS liner note, 1993


Disc 1
The Hellion
Electric Eye Victim Of Changes Painkiller
Eat Me Alive • Devil's Child Dissident Aggressor
Delivering The Goods Exciter
Breaking The Law
Hell Bent For Leather Blood Red Skies
Metal Gods
Before The Dawn Turbo Lover
Ram It Down Metal Meltdown

Disc 2
Screaming For Vengeance
You've Got Another Thing Comin'
Beyond The Realms Of Death •  Solar Angels
Bloodstone Desert Plains
Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days
Heading Out To The Highway
Living After Midnight A Touch Of Evil
The Rage Night Comes Down
Sinner Freewheel Burning Night Crawler

  • Released April 29, 1993 by Columbia Records (UK Cat. # 473050) and May 18, 1993 by Columbia Records (US Cat. # 53932)
  • THE RE-MASTERS UK/European CD released February 21, 2002 by Sony Music/Columbia Records (Cat. # 502138)

Re-mastered by Judas Priest and Tom Allom
Engineered by Tim Burrell
Mixed at Chop em Out Studios and The Townhouse Studios, London, England

Chart position: UK #37; Billboard 200 #155
Night Crawler: UK singles #63


  • Night Crawler/Breaking The Law (Live)/Living After Midnight (Live) released in 1993 by Columbia Records (UK Cat. # 659097)


Cover based on an original idea by Judas Priest
Cover Illustration: Mark Wilkinson
Sleeve Design: Mainartery, London
Photographers: Ray Palmer, Ross Halfin, Tony Mottram, Joe Giron, Anna Maria Di Santos, Geoffrey Thomas and Glen La Ferman

Just as the album contained a 20 year history of Priest songs, so too the cover was a collage of the main elements from each of the album covers spanning those two decades. The album cover even made a cameo appearance on film:

In the movie Wayne's World 2, Wayne and Garth go to their local radio station to promote their "Waynestock" concert. While in the station's lobby talking to the receptionist (played by Drew Barrymore), a framed cover of the Metal Works album can be seen hanging on the wall! Speaking of Drew Barrymore, she shows up in the Charlie's Angels Full Throttle movie wearing a Judas Priest T-shirt as well:

     "I love getting to live out my fantasies and take down five guys while wearing a Judas Priest T-shirt.”
- Drew Barrymore, Maxim magazine, June 11, 2003

     "I'd rather see Drew Barrymore without a T-shirt on..."
- Glenn Tipton, Entertainment Tonight, July 14, 2004

MAY 1992: Rob leaves

Many thanks to Metal Andy for help with putting the details together!

     "I have a lot to do with the writing, and also the production, but it would be wrong of me to say that I'm the most important member of the band, because everybody is important the way I see it. Somebody asked me the other day what I thought about Bad Company reforming, and I said, 'Is that right, well is Paul Rodgers in the band?' and they said, 'No'. I'll tell you what I think of it, it would be like Judas Priest reforming one day without Rob Halford. So I do believe that everybody has got a key-role in this band, although writing-wise I do have a lot to say."
- Glenn Tipton, Metal Hammer, 1987

     "You will have internal conflicts within your band, and you will collide with your management and label. Your emotions will run wild when you experience disappointment after disappointment, and some days you will even feel like packing it in."
- Rob Halford, Foundations Forum Keynote Address, 1990

At the peak of their career in 1987, Glenn Tipton had never in his wildest dreams envisioned a day that his good friend and fellow defender would ever leave the greatest and most dedicated band in metal...

But three years later, as Rob addressed the attendees of the Third Annual Foundation's Forum, his statement would echo back and become a reflection of his own personal struggle over the next couple of years...

     "Halford began to express dissatisfaction with Priest's musical direction, believing that the band had become "too safe" to compete in the harder-edged metal world of the '90s. Downing and Tipton held their ground, feeling that Halford would soon come to his senses..."
- Ryan Cline, Hit Parader, July/August 2004

But there was more going on behind-the-scenes than just Rob outgrowing the music. Judas Priest had become a corporate machine, with management and record execs calling the shots. And the Reno trial still wore heavily on the emotions of all the members.

Rob Halford was not a demanding person; he actually prefers working in a group setting, but now it seemed to him that his ideas were no longer considered a valid part of that Judas Priest team and Rob began to distant himself from the rest of the members:

          "Rob used to isolate himself. He very rarely traveled with the band if he could help it. He would get different hotels. He would get a different dressing room if he could get one, that sort of thing. It created, not tension really, but a kind of un-togetherness."
- Ian Hill, Music America, 1998

     "For so many years I put myself in the backseat and I let everybody else drive..."
- Rob Halford,

     "There are some times when you want to push a point home that you've been involved in creatively, and sometimes it gets pushed away to one side and you have to accept that, you know, for the good of the band. Sometimes your input isn't maybe as useful or as needed as maybe the rest of the guys feel. So it's very much give-and-take and it's like a marriage. You have your fights, your ups and downs..."
- Rob Halford,

Rob did however come to his senses in recognizing his edgier American metal ideas were not appropriate for the traditional British metal of Priest and once the tour was over, Rob made a request of the band: During the band's long break, Rob could still satisfy his musical urges by making a solo album on the side - to which his band mates agreed.

     "It was the summer of 1991 and we were on the Operation Rock 'N' Roll tour and we had been on the road for a long time and we were all feeling a bit jaded. We were ready for a bit of time off and Rob wanted to continue. He came to us and asked if we minded if he did a solo album and we said, 'No, you‘ve got plenty of time to do that'."
- Ian Hill, Classic Rock Revisited, January 2002

     "I was in Spain at the time taking a break and Rob rang up from the States saying he wanted to do a solo album, and we said, 'No problem', because we had worked so hard and had just went through that weird court case. We just completed the Painkiller album and world tour, and I guess Rob wanted a break from the band. He wanted to do a solo project..."
- K.K. Downing, Hard Radio Shockwaves, 1998

     "It wasn’t a shock initially that Rob wanted to do a solo project. He got our blessing to go ahead and do it..."
- Glenn Tipton, Sound Waves, May 1998

     "I've had this need to push and stretch and explore all the available arenas of music within the framework of metal and hard rock. I'm finally able to fulfill all the extra possibilities that I've been carrying around inside me."
- Rob Halford, AnarchoCyberSludge, 1995

Drummer Scott Travis was still new to Priest and became a good friend of Rob's, so he opted to join Rob on his solo venture during Priest's down time. Everything seemed to be in place: Rob, with Scott, would record a solo album of hardcore modern American style metal and then return to Priest when the break was over and it was time to write the next album...

Though Rob got a lot of the basic writing down on tape during the 1991 PAINKILLER tour leg in Canada, Priest's label rejected it outright:

     "Columbia, our label at the time, hated the new material I had written, just hated it..."
- Rob Halford,
All The Rage Zine, 2001

Columbia Records' rejection only made Rob push harder to shake the industry with something fresh:

     "He wanted to do a solo album and we said great, because a lot of time and work went into that court case and the Painkiller album and we wanted to take some time off. After time passed he felt more confident that what he was doing was more exciting and he thought he should have done that a long time ago and he just ran away with it. You can feel like you have the best album but until it’s released you never know because you can’t please everybody."
- K.K. Downing, illiterature.com, 2002

Glenn claims that Rob then asked to take four years off to pursue his venture before returning to Priest:

     "We understood that after 20 years, Rob wanted to make something else. But Rob told us he wanted to do this for four years and then return to Judas Priest. We explained to him that we cannot let the fans wait that long, but he didn't want to understand that - and just let us sit."
- Glenn Tipton, Bravo, 1993

     "Absolutely not! I've never said that I wanted to take four years off. The only thing I did was let everybody know what I was doing. I've never said that!"
- Rob Halford, Dynamite Magazine, 1994

Whatever Rob meant to communicate, it didn't sit well with manager Bill Curbishley:

     "...It quickly escalated on the managerial side and eventually Rob expressed that he didn’t want to continue with Bill Curbishley, who’d been our long-standing manager and a friend of the band. I’ve got the greatest respect for Bill, so once that started it was never easy to reconcile the situation."
- Glenn Tipton, Sound Waves, May 1998

In spite of the turmoil brewing, Rob managed to stay busy, making a guest appearance with Skid Row on HANGIN' WITH MTV to perform "Delivering The Goods" and recording backing vocals to the track "Goddamn Devil" for Ugly Kid Joe's full-album debut AMERICA'S LEAST WANTED. Then Rob was given an ultimatum: Judas Priest was not going to wait around for Rob to do his thing; if Rob chose to continue on his own, he could not come back!

     "I had a temper tantrum. I said, 'Okay, but you just watch me. I'm going to do everything on my own. I don't need you."
- Rob Halford, Revolver, November 2003

     "Priest didn't understand what I was doing. They didn't like what I was doing. You know, when we had a problem, it was resolved fast, with no discussion, so, I expected coming back to the band, but, to my surprise, they didn't want me back. Glenn is always saying that the best thing that happened to Priest was my departure..."
- Rob Halford, Dynamite Magazine, 1994

On September 7, 1992, Rob Halford was legally no longer a member of Judas Priest. Accusations were made by the band that Rob had quit the band in a very impersonal way:

     "There were a few unpleasant faxes flying around..."
- Glenn Tipton, Rolling Stone, July 23, 2003

Rumors soon followed in the press, claiming Rob made a request to be extracted from his contract via fax, rather than contacting his close friends of some 20 years, directly.  Fans were shocked and many alienated when they read of their metal icon being so cold-hearted in his conduct. But the rumors were an untrue twisting of the facts. Rob and Glenn have both said they talked during the split, though it was limited for legal reasons. Most things were handled through their lawyers...

     "Regarding the split up: I confirm Rob did not send a 'fax' to his former band members. One has not been produced by either party to date - so it can be concluded that the whole thing was a mud-slinging P.R. move by Judas Priest's representatives. Prior to departing, Rob spoke with each of them often via telephone. The last conversation took place two days prior to the dissolution of the agreements. Who told whom? Well, Rob's U.K. attorney informed Judas Priest's U.K. attorney of Rob's departure over the telephone and documents were couriered the next day. Rob also spoke to Judas Priest's attorney via telephone. Given he was Judas Priest's attorney from '81 forward, Rob had a good relation with the individual. Rob asked this attorney if he should speak with Ken, Glenn and Ian regarding the matter, but the attorney said he'd handle it. From my conversation with Ken shortly afterwards, he told me their attorney delivered the news in a very cold way. I'm saddened to this day that the communication of Rob's departure from his agreements with Judas Priest were not handled with greater care."
- John Baxter, September 2, 2002

     "It was extremely difficult to walk away, since it wasn't my intention. It was caused by legal squabbles and contractual difficulties. However, being away from Priest has enabled me to be part of something new and exciting and fresh."
- Rob Halford, internet chat, 2002

When Rob made his decision to leave Priest back in May '92, it was kept quiet until the legalities could be settled. Finally in the early part of 1993, Judas Priest broke the silence to confirm the rumors that were already making the rounds:

     "We've got to be direct and honest really, because it's fair to all the kids out there. There's been a lot of supposition, there's been a lot of conflicting reports: Rob was in the band then he was out of the band, then he's back in the band, then he's out of the band, then he forgot to ask us, all of this... We felt that we got to put the record straight at some point, which we did about two months ago - we'd held our silence for a year really, and we just made an announcement that he was out of the band and that we'd make a decision after this METAL WORKS album as to how we were going to carry on, with or without him.
     "About a year ago, Rob informed us that he wanted to do a solo project. We said, 'Fine. Carry on, great...', but it quickly escalated into a solo career and his desire to be a solo artist was probably stronger than his desire to be in Judas Priest, really.
     "I think in the last two or three years, we detected some dissatisfaction from Rob; who can say really from that score except Rob himself.
     "We've always been proud of Judas Priest music and we wanted to continue. We'd always said that if one of the four key members, myself, Ken, Ian or Rob decided to go their own way, we'd probably all go our own way musically. But, as the years evolved, we've done some serious writing - we got some great songs together 'cause we, actually for the first part of the year, anticipated that we could work it out, but Rob obviously doesn't want to be with the band anymore, so we're excited about the music and when we decided to voice this opinion to the people, we were just amazed that everybody wants Priest to carry on... They know the strength in Judas Priest has been the music. It's not the singer, it's the songs, you know, and for twenty years now, we put our heart and soul into this band. So, what we said is this: 'We're excited about the music we've got - it's very innovative and we think it's just what metal needs at this point in time'.
     "We got our eye on a couple of guys that are a bit special at the moment but we're not going to rush into it...we don't want a Rob Halford sound-alike; we want somebody who's unique in their own way and
that can blend in and fit in with us as characters, and come this summer, we're going to get a short list of about four guys who are going to audition, an then we'll rehearse and we're going to do it. Next year, we're going to deliver the best Judas Priest album - not one that's just as good, it's going to be the best thing we've ever done. Otherwise, we'll never release it. It's a decision we haven't taken lightly; we put a lot of thought into it and we're ready to go, we're excited about it. Like I said, we have a couple of guys we're interested in but we're still open to offers and the final decision hasn't been made yet.
     "We've had a year - we haven't been sitting around... We've formed ideas and song structures as we always do, but we're really quite excited about it. We're going to put the 'heavy' back in heavy metal - it's time for a bit of a complete turnaround we feel and do some really spine-tingling, solid metal..."
- Glenn Tipton, Finger's Metal Shop, May 29, 1993

Band members, including Rob himself, were in the dark over why it had come to this. Ultimately, egos were hurt and a war of words became the norm in the press throughout the '90s:

     "What Rob intended as a trial separation from the band deteriorated into a divorce by 1992."
- Bryan Reesman, METALOGY liner note, 2004

     "There was just complete confusion and I guess anxiety and confusion on everybody's part and like all families, we had a big falling out."
- Rob Halford,

     "Call it a horrific squabble if you like."
- Glenn Tipton,

     "There was a lot of flack flying around. A lot of it childish, I must admit. And there was personal attacks in there, you know, which weren't necessary at all."
- Ian Hill,

     "We don't really know what happened, it was a bit of a shock...more than a shock...it was an earthquake really. We all had got on well together, there wasn't any real problems within the band.  It just ran away with him. I don't know exactly what happened other than he wanted to employ himself fully to his solo project. Then, Rob said he wanted to quit the band, and so he did. I can't really be any more informative than that, I don't know whether he was of the mind that after all those years he just wanted to take total control of himself, the music, the band, and the production of the record."
- K.K. Downing, Hard Radio Shockwaves, 1998

     "If I personally would have handled it a little bit more diplomatically and been more open to conversation, things may not have ended up the way that they did."
- Rob Halford,

NOVEMBER 1992: Black Sabbath - Making rock 'n' roll history!

Only two months after the devastating break up, Rob had a rare opportunity to perform with his icons of metal, Black Sabbath!

Well, for two nights anyway. Yes, for two nights of the Dehumanizer tour, the Metal God joined forces with the legends of metal to make rock n' roll history!

The shows took place on November 14 and 15, 1992 at Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, California. Ozzy Osbourne was proclaiming his '92 No More Tours tour was to be his last, and he wanted to play with Black Sabbath one last time to end his career. Then Sabbath front man Ronnie James Dio stated that he didn't think Black Sabbath should have to open for anyone, not the least of which was their own former lead singer, Ozzy, so Dio refused to do the shows. Tony Martin was then asked to perform at these two shows, but Wendy Dio, in charge of Sabbath at the time, refused to sign his work visa to come to the States. Ronnie would never support a belittling of his work, knowing it was a set-up for the Ozzy reunion, nor would he allow Tony Martin to come back and make matters even worse for both singers.

Left with little options, the remaining Sabbath members scrambled for a solution:

     "It wasn't working out with Ronnie. Playing-wise, it was great. But it didn't feel right. When Ozzy asked us to open his final show in Costa Mesa, things came to a head. Ronnie took a different attitude and refused to do the show. We originally asked Tony Martin to replace him, but he couldn't get a visa on such short notice. So Rob Halford offered to try. He's from Birmingham like us, so we had three hours to rehearse in Phoenix and it sounded great. It was done for fun. We didn't care if people - wait a minute - we did care if people threw bottles, but it was a good time."
- Geezer Butler, Boston Rock, April 1994

     "We were really forced to start thinking of someone from outside of the Sabbath family, so to speak. I think Rob's name was the first to come up and after a little bit of thought we just said, 'Yeah, it's obvious isn't it?' The guy is from Birmingham, so he had that going for him, plus, of course, we all knew Rob has an amazing voice. With Black Sabbath we have always had singers with great character, but Rob has that as well as a range that means he can sing pretty much anything we have ever done easily. When we got hold of him it turns out that he really didn't need to learn too much because he had all the albums already. The guy lives and breathes heavy metal. He lived only a few hours away too, so everything locked into place there too. He saved our bacon on that day."
- Geezer Butler,

     "As I recall, the telephone call came completely out of the blue. As I was told, Sharon, Tony and Ozzy had put their heads together and came up with my name... The guys came down to my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona and we soon had something worked out..."
- Rob Halford,

     "Rob called Wendy and I and said, 'Listen, I've been asked to do these Black Sabbath shows, but I really don't want to lose our friendship. If it is going to upset things between us, then I'll decline'. Now, Rob didn't need to do that at all, but he's a true gentleman, so he did the right thing. I wouldn't say Rob needed our permission, but he wanted our blessing - not that he needed it - and he got it. It didn't matter to me at that stage who was going to do it, but I was glad it was Rob, and I thought some of the song choices were interesting too.
     "I knew everything about what was going on. I would see Vinnie in the morning and I would say, 'Going to rehearsal?' and Vinnie would say, 'Yeah, going to rehearse with Rob'. It was all out in the open."

- Ronnie James Dio,

The metal masters convened at Vintage Sound Studios in Phoenix for a quick rehearsal:

     "It felt really special, y' know? The studio was just a very small room where we had demoed the Fight material. We just ran through it once and it sounded great. Afterwards, we all looked at each other and said, 'Well, that's it then, isn't it? We don't need to do it again'. It was that easy to lock in. Next night, we did the same thing in front of 20,000 people. I wish that, looking back, we had captured that moment in the studio or something. It really was a special moment.
     "I put it to Tony that it might be a nice idea to dig up some Sabbath songs from the past, some stuff that had not been done in a long time. Tony liked the idea, so we went through the set list two or three times until we got something in order. I just thought it would be a nice gesture to give the fans something a bit different to what they would generally expect."

- Rob Halford,

     "Jamming with Black Sabbath was a dream come true for me! Oh God, I’m the world’s biggest Sabbath fan! I was like a kid in a candy store. Ronnie James Dio couldn’t make it for some political reason, so I was asked to step in. It took me a microsecond to say, 'Yes!' I was jumping around the house like, 'I’m gonna sing with Sabbath! I’m gonna sing with Sabbath!' A few days later I spoke to Tony Iommi and we put together a set list. I made a tape, stuck in it my Walkman, walked around the house, took it in my car and was singing along to Sabbath, even in the shower, because we only had a few hours to rehearse. They were on the road with Ronnie and came through Phoenix. We were in this tiny rehearsal facility/recording studio called Vintage Sound, that’s got all of these old amps, and you can get such a wonderful sound there. I see Tony and Geezer for the first time in ages, and it’s, 'Hey, what’s going on? Great to be here, etc.'. Tony fires up 'Paranoid', and I was like, 'Oh, my God, this is really happening!' We had one rehearsal, and the next day we played in front of 20,000 people. It was just sensational!"
- Rob Halford, Stepping’ Out Magazine, July 19, 2000

The shows were truly a historic moment in metal, but they weren't without their flaws:

   "I knew the band had an intro tape, so when I thought it was time to go, we all assembled backstage. The problem was, we were four musos dressed in black and we were behind this huge black scrim drape behind the drum riser, all the lights were off, so...we actually lost each other! I have to tell you, I had huge nerves; the anticipation was enormous, so realizing I was on my own was just the worst.
     "They were pumping huge plumes of dry ice out onto the stage at this point and I thought to myself, 'Is that me? Is this where I go on?' I couldn't see Tony or Geezer to get a signal  from, so I thought surely this has to be me. So, I casually strode out there, wading my way through the smoke and I stood there, center stage - and nobody else was there! I was way too early, standing there feeling like a complete plonker! This huge crowd was cheering and there I was just thinking to myself that I had just made a complete prick of myself. I couldn't do anything, so I just stood there taking some deep breaths to calm myself down.
     "I was rooted to the spot, I couldn't turn around and go back because that would look ridiculous. I can remember thinking to myself, 'Well these Black Sabbath fans are now going to think I must really love myself for having put on such a grand entrance!' I was waiting for what seemed like an eternity. My nerves were right on the edge, but actually, although it was a blunker on my part, it actually looked pretty cool at the end of the day, like part of the show. In reality, what the audience thought was part of the show was a big mistake.
     "The next night I fucked up again, didn't I? I came in four bars too early for the second song, for which I got a kick on the leg from Tony. I always laugh when I see that on the bootleg video. No more mistakes after that and it was all plain sailing."

- Rob Halford,

The history-making line-up consisted of:

Rob Halford (vocals)
Tony Iommi (guitar)
Geezer Butler (bass)
Vinnie Appice (drums)
Geoff Nicholls (keyboards)

The first night's set list was as follows:
E5150/Mob Rules - Computer God - Children Of The Sea - Symptom Of The Universe - N.I.B. - Die Young - Guitar Solo - Into The Void - Heaven And Hell - Supernaut - Neon Knights

While the second night's was the following:
E5150/Mob Rules - Children Of The Grave - Children Of The Sea - Symptom Of The Universe - N.I.B. - Die Young - Into The Void - Heaven And Hell - Sweet Leaf - Neon Knights

Then Sabbath Mach I (Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward) did a special reunion to close the show with a short 4-song set featuring: Black Sabbath - Fairies Wear Boots - Iron Man - Paranoid

The shows were video taped by an audience member, with VHS and DVD versions currently making the rounds, and released on two bootleg CDs (Ozzy Osbourne Final Concert and Ozzy Meets the Priest) through an Italian label called Nova in 1993, but are now out-of-print, though still available through trader sites. More info and pics of the shows and the two CDs can be found at the following links:




Interesting to note, during the shows, Rob announced from the stage that he and the Priest would be back. Seems Rob felt that a return would soon be at hand.

Members of Black Sabbath, along with Rob, did a Rockline interview the following day, but it was never intended to continue with Rob as their lead vocalist beyond these dates, or was it?

     "Me and Tony talked about it. It would have been a dream come true, but looking back, I think those two shows are enough. I have the bootleg video and CD and it freaks me out to listen to it."
- Rob Halford, online chat, January 18, 2002

     "We did speak about me joining Sabbath and it did seem to be a very obvious thing for a short while. Tony and I discussed it a few times but at the time, both our worlds were in chaos and turmoil, so we never got the chance. Possibly we should have both pursued it more seriously. Tony is a great person, a good guy to hang out with, so there were never any personal issues in the way to prevent a union like that from happening. Glenn Hughes was in there too. I’m a huge fan of Glenn - terrific bass player and wonderful singer.
     "You can never tell in this game. So many maybes all the time, but it all makes sense doesn’t it? I mean, Tony, Glenn Hughes and I are all from the same area. We’ve all played the same clubs when we started out and we’ve all enjoyed a fair degree of success. We have all pursued similar paths and made something of ourselves in this crazy profession. The synergy from the fans of Tony and I seemed to be there too. The bridge between Judas Priest and Black Sabbath was there in terms of style, so that was no worry. Maybe it should have happened."

- Rob Halford,

     "That was definitely the big plan, to get Rob into the band and sing on the next Black Sabbath album. Costa Mesa was like one big test, which the guy passed with flying colors. For quite some time there was a lot of excitement in the air because we all thought Rob was going to do it. Discussions got to the point where he was going to be the next Black Sabbath singer and we all knew that could produce a monster of an album... Rob had everything. He could hit all those high notes, which meant that he could sing absolutely every song Tony Iommi had ever written - it's the first time that had ever happened. He had a reputation, he had his own fans, he was a Brummie, his stage presence too was just awesome. What more could you ask? Both Tony Iommi and I really liked Rob’s look then too, with that whole Bela Lugosi/Nosferatu-ian thing going on. I think Rob with Sabbath and the full show would have put us back on the map for sure."
- Geoff Nicholls, BLACK SABBATH: NEVER SAY DIE! 1979-1997, 2003

Rob did record a track with members of Sabbath for a tribute to Ozzy Osbourne in 1994. Dubbed the Bullring Brummies, the band consisted of Rob Halford on vocals; Geezer Butler on bass; Bill Ward on drums; Scott "Wino" Weinrich (St. Vitus, The Obsessed) on rhythm guitar; Brian Tilse (from Rob's band Fight) on guitar and Jimmie Wood providing harmonica. They covered the old Black Sabbath song "The Wizard" for their contribution to the Ozzy tribute, Nativity In Black. Tony Iommi was also slated to be on this recording, making for what would have been a full Black Sabbath reunion with Rob Halford on vocals instead of Ozzy, but troubles with Tony's record label kept him from appearing on the album, even though he did record his un-submitted part...

     "Rob did his vocals in a studio in the USA and sent them over. It was a studio project, so Rob did his vocal tracks here and Tony did his guitar parts in the UK."
- John Baxter, Black Sabbath : Never Say Die!, 2003


After leaving Judas Priest, putting a demo of personal ideas together and jamming with some great legends in metal, including his teen idols Black Sabbath, it was clear that Rob was a free man, happier on his own. Both parties were bitter over the situation, but the METAL WORKS package was being put together and required assistance from the two sides. Rob participated and fulfilled his contractual duties from a distance, contributing to song selections and liner notes, and making separate appearances apart from the band when filming the video.

It is reported that after finishing METAL WORKS, in spite of his new-found musical freedom, Rob actually made a final attempt to return to Priest in June of '93, "for the sake of the fans", but the break had been too much; Priest had moved on and Rob would have to do the same:

     "I've never told anybody this before, but there was a time - I think it was around the first Fight release - where I approached someone about it, I'm not gonna say who, associated with the band, and I made a gesture, something of a reach-out, and I was to some extent rebuked. I was rebuffed, but I think that's because emotions and feelings and everything else were still so much on the front burner.
     "So as early as me putting together the first Fight album, I was having these moments of going, 'Oh god, what's been created here? All of those impulses suddenly crumbled around me, and the fact that I created this horrific breakup, which wasn't my intent... Right from the get-go, I was having feelings that I should try to repair this. But having said that, aside from that one incident, I just appreciated that some time needed to pass before we could make the next move."
- Rob Halford, Revolver, August 2004

     "Could Rob come back? No, it was all too late in the day. I believe a fax did come through and he did want to return but it was all too late. We were disappointed in a lot of things. We were disappointed that he chose to leave, that he didn’t have the respect or appreciation for what Judas Priest had become and what it stood for and he chose an alternative style of music that was for other generations to explore, in all honesty. As I said before, we know and appreciate that lots of people might say that Priest has been around for donkey’s years and we’re just a metal band or whatever, but that’s fine because that’s what we do. We appreciate other bands and other music forms but it’s not for us to jump on a new generation bandwagon. We would never consider the return of Rob Halford."
- K.K. Downing, illiterature.com, 2002

     "Rob had us very disappointed. However, life goes on. We will seek a new singer and drummer and will make a great album that will outshine everything!"
- K.K. Downing, Bravo, 1993

Yes indeed, K.K. said they would seek a new singer and DRUMMER! The truth is, Scott was never out of Judas Priest. The guys had discussed the possibility that Scott could be busy with Fight at the same time that Priest got into the studio again and they had a couple of drummers in mind, just in case, but once the guys got together with Scott on the issue, it was clear to them that Scott was only doing his thing with Fight during the break - he was a full-fledged, dedicated member of Judas Priest first and foremost!

    "I mean Scott's not out of the question. We met with Scott last year, and everything's fine with Scott, and at the moment he's doing the thing with Rob and that's fine, you know, and if it comes to a point where the two clash, in other words if he's out on the road and he can't get in to do the studio work, we'll think again, but at the moment that option's open.
     "There're a couple of drummers we've got our eye on as well, but as I said, we haven't made a decision in that area at the moment; we don't feel that's necessary. Scott's a good lad and we get along well with him, and that's the main thing".
- Glenn Tipton, Metal Maniacs, February 1994

     "Scott agreed to play on Rob’s album when it was just a solo album and it was a solo project - he had agreed to do that. Scott didn’t know any more than we did that Rob’s solo album was going to turn into a solo career. And, of course, he was caught up with that. And he did - more power to him - he did call everybody up and say, 'Do you mind if I do this?' And, of course, no, we didn’t mind, as long as he was available when we were active again..."
- Ian Hill, Prime-Choice, January 21, 1998


As stated above and in the liner notes, METAL WORKS was not intended to be a "Best Of", nor a "Greatest Hits" package. It was simply a collection of Priest classics, radio hits, and personal favorites of the band members to showcase their 20 years they were together recording and performing live. Due to Gull Entertainments holding the rights to the first two albums, instead of paying Gull's license fee, Sony and Priest opted to use the live version of "Victim Of Changes" to represent that era, as it also showcases the band at their classic best in a live setting.

With Rob gone and the future of Priest at question, this was the package that would leave a lasting memory of the band, whether as a memory of the past or as a bridge to the next era. Unfortunately, the gap to the next era lasted longer than hoped, and for many, METAL WORKS is the last thing they know of Judas Priest. But their story does continue...


Sony Music Entertainment VHS 1993 (UK Cat. # 2004962)
Columbia Music Video Music VHS (US Cat. # 19V-49885)
SMV Enterprises/Epic/Sony Records Laser Disc (Japan Cat. # ESLU 123)

Featuring clips from:
You've Got Another Thing Comin' (Live)
Rocka Rolla (BBC)
Dreamer Deceiver (BBC)
The Ripper (Live)
Sinner (Live)
Diamonds And Rust (Live)
Killing Machine (Live)
Take On The World (Live)
United (BBC)
Green Manalishi (Live)
Living After Midnight
Breaking The Law
Heading Out To The Highway
Heading Out To The Highway (Live)
Hot Rockin'
Screaming For Vengeance (Live)
You've Got Another Thing Comin'

The Hellion/Electric Eye (Live)
Freewheel Burning
Freewheel Burning (Live)
Love Bites
Turbo Lover
Out In The Cold (Live)
Hear 'N' Aide - Stars
Johnny B. Goode
A Touch Of Evil
Hell Bent For Leather (Live)

With appearances from:
Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, Def Leppard's Rick Savage, Henry Rollins, and more...

Rare and previously unseen video footage and photographs from K.K. Downing's meticulously kept scrapbooks lend visuals to the story of Judas Priest's 20 year history, as told through interviews with the band and those they've touched along the way. Though Rob Halford was already out of the band and launching his debut with a new band called Fight, he did take the time to participate in the interviews. Highly insightful and highly recommended!

Steel & Leather Productions, U.S.A.